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Mobile App Maintenance: The Key to Staying Relevant in a Crowded App Market
If you’re a business owner or leader and the concept of “app maintenance” doesn’t get you excited, you’re not alone. The debut of new features or apps will always steal the limelight, but maintenance remains the unsung, if markedly less flashy, hero of any app development project.
Just as regular maintenance keeps a car running smoothly, mobile apps require updates, security patches, and bug fixes to ensure security and reliability. Mobile app maintenance bridges the gap between the old and the newer devices, operating systems, or emerging trends, ensuring that systems and devices continue to function at their best.
Why Do Mobile Apps Need Maintenance?
Google and Apple periodically clear Play Store and App Store of outdated apps to encourage developers to maintain compatibility with the latest versions and adhere to safety measures. Along with keeping the user experience as smooth as possible, this is why a commitment to maintenance is vital. Mobile app maintenance serves several purposes, including:
Bug fixes: Even well-tested apps can run into unexpected issues. Bugs can happen in real-time edge cases, which are unique and uncommon situations that can be challenging to replicate during standard testing. Also, user-driven data, which includes information and interactions initiated by app users, can introduce complexities. Custom OS variants, referring to unique operating system versions or modifications, might also bring compatibility issues or bugs. So, to maintain app performance, responsiveness, and overall stability, regular maintenance is crucial.
Security: Mobile apps often handle sensitive user data, making them attractive targets for cyber threats. Without regular updates and security patches, an app becomes vulnerable to hacks and breaches, putting user privacy and the app’s reputation at risk.
Compatibility: New operating systems and different kinds of devices keep coming out all the time. An outdated app may become incompatible with these new technologies, leading to crashes and malfunctions. Maintenance ensures that an app remains usable on the latest platforms.
User engagement: Adding new features and improvements is important to keep users interested and the app more valuable. Not doing this can diminish an app’s competitiveness and relevance in the highly competitive app market.
How Often Should Mobile Apps Be Updated?
Every year, Apple and Google release new versions of their mobile operating systems. This means that all apps should aim to have at least one update or maintenance check every year to work well with these new OS versions.
Stats show that over 92% of Google Play Store apps and 98% of Apple App Store apps are updated at least once a year. But some apps benefit from weekly updates to address frequent content changes and bug fixes, while others may require monthly updates.
How often a mobile app needs maintenance can change for different reasons. The frequency and depth of maintenance depends on what an app does, what users say, and how fast technology is changing.
For instance, apps that handle sensitive data, such as banking apps, may need to be updated more frequently to address security vulnerabilities. The key is to find a balance that keeps your app stable and relevant without overwhelming users with too many updates.
Types of App Maintenance
Perfective Maintenance: Enhancement or perfective maintenance is often initiated in response to user feedback or to meet changing business needs. Examples of perfective maintenance activities include adding new features or functionality, improving the app’s performance and usability based on usage/analytics observation, fixing known bugs and refactoring the code to make it more maintainable.
Preventive Maintenance: In preventive maintenance, developers proactively test an app periodically to find and fix problems before they cause trouble. For instance, they may test upcoming OS versions in closed or public BETA versions to ensure that the app doesn’t experience major functional issues with the new operating system. This approach ensures that your app runs smoothly.
Adaptive Maintenance: Adaptive app maintenance is the process of modifying a mobile app to keep it compatible with changes to its operating environment. This includes changes to the operating system, hardware, and third-party software.
Emergency Maintenance: Emergency maintenance is typically performed outside of the regular maintenance lifecycle to address problems that are causing immediate disruption to the users of the software product. These problems can be caused by a variety of factors, such as bugs, hardware failures, or cyberattacks.
Corrective Maintenance: Corrective maintenance is performed to fix bugs and other defects. These problems can be identified through user feedback, testing, or monitoring. Corrective maintenance is typically performed within the regular development lifecycle, as it is planned and scheduled in advance.
Best Practices for App Maintenance
Clean code and smart design are the basic elements every app should have. They are the essential elements that make maintenance a straightforward process. Having published numerous apps on Android and iOS platforms, our experienced engineering architects can play a key role in upholding this foundation, minimizing technical debt, and securing an app’s long-term sustainability.
- Keep up with user needs by identifying areas for improvement through analytics, reviews and surveys.
- Check app performance regularly including loading times, responsiveness, and user behavior.
- Create a maintenance plan outlining activities, frequency, and costs, and review it regularly.
- Keep users informed about upcoming updates and maintenance through in-app notifications, social media, or email newsletters.
- Thoroughly test updates on various devices and conditions to identify and fix potential problems before user impact.
Mobile App Maintenance Cost
Mobile app maintenance cost can vary based on several factors such as the app size and complexity, the type of updates, development cost and ongoing expenses related to hosting, analytics tools, and any other third-party services. It’s important for app owners to consider all of these factors and budget accordingly to ensure the app’s continued success.
The journey doesn’t end once you launch a mobile app. Mobile app maintenance is the lifeline that keeps your app vibrant, secure, and competitive and the choice of a technology partner plays a pivotal role in ensuring your app’s continued success.
With a combined experience of over 19 years, Eleviant CTG’s professionals possess the skills and know-how to ensure your app operates at its peak performance whether that’s on Apple or Google platforms. Talk to our experts to learn more about how we can help develop and maintain your app or help support your IT team with additional resources.